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27 April 2001, 12:43 pm
Green Bounces Back
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Congresional Cup

After a slow start, the GRB Challenge team ,helmed by Andy Green won all their races on day two.
Whatever Thursday's perfect performance in the Congressional Cup by Andy Green may mean in the grand scheme of the America's Cup, it showed that Britain is serious about someday reclaiming the trophy it watched sail away 150 years ago.

Green, only 26 but ranked 11th in the world, won all five of his matches to climb into a four-way tie for third among a group of higher-touted rivals. Peter Holmberg (Oracle) and Bertrand Pace (Team New Zealand) remained on top at 8-2 after 10 of 18 flights leading to best-of-three semifinals and finals on Sunday. Green is at 6-4 with Rod Davis (Prada), Morgan Larson (OneWorld) and Ken Read (Stars & Stripes).

Green is sailing for the first time with a core crew from Britain's new GBR Challenge that has some of the UK's best sailors: tactician Adrian Stead, bowman James Stagg, trimmers Julian Salter and Ian Fry and 300-pound Mark Covell in the pit.

But . . . Rule Britannia? Perhaps not yet. "We're not kidding ourselves," Stead said. "We've got a lot to learn. We're not Oracle yet."

The racing started an hour late when a wisp of wind emerged from under a thick marine layer, and the first match saw Holmberg breaking his first-day tie with a 24-second win over Pace and his Kiwi crew.

But then, after a 1-4 mark on Wednesday, it became Green's day. In succession, as the wind built from 4 to 14 knots through the afternoon, the Brits dispatched Luc Pillot (4-6), Sebastien Destremau (1-9), Read, Larson and Holmberg. They led at every mark except two against Destremau in a race that had four lead changes. Green thought the last win was the best one.

"I started a little better but the whole crew was better, and Ado [Stead] was fantastic," Green said. "The way he called the shifts was brilliant. Especially against Holmberg we didn't match race or cover him at all. We went for the shifts." Green ignored Holmberg's move to the right side of the course - normally favored in a brisk sea breeze at Long Beach - and sailed left into a lifting breeze that put him two lengths in front when the boats converged and, Stead said, "We never looked back."

Green's only serious error was when he accidentally hooked the inflated leeward mark during a pre-start sequence and dragged it 50 yards.

STANDINGS (after 10 of 18 flights)

1. Tie between Holmberg and Pace, 8-2;
3. Tie among Read, Davis, Larson and Green, 6-4
7. tie between Pillot and Spithill, 4-6
9. Tie between Radich and Destremau, 1-9.
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